GLOCESTER – In a glass case appearing at home among the Chepachet store’s usual display of stones, amulets, incense and crystals sit the artifacts, including several made of amethyst and a polished fluorite wand.
The items, used as props in the filming of Hocus Pocus 2, are now at Dragonfly Apothecary at 10 Money Hill Road, where they will remain through December.
Store owner Robert Russo said a close friend, who is a collector of crystals, purchased the specimens, and invited him to put them on display at the business. Originally from Apple Valley Minerals in Smithfield, the stones were used on the set of the movie, a sequel to the 1993 Halloween cult classic, when it filmed in Rhode Island last year.
Producers, Russo notes, reached out to the Smithfield business during filming.
“He provided a bunch,” Russo said.
Many of the stones were returned to Smithfield once the filming was complete, but others were sold, along with certificates of authenticity stating they were used in the film, now also on display in Russo’s glass case.
The shop, first opened in Cranston in 2021, moved to Village Bean plaza last December with Russo, and his wife and co-owner Lisa-Marie Ricci-Russo, fitting right in to a village that prides itself on the weird and the spooky.
“I like the witchy feel up here,” Russo, who lives in Cranston, said of the town, and the decision to rent space in the Chepachet building.
Russo notes he was studying to be a teacher when COVID-19 hit the region in 2020, providing an unexpected change in direction.
“During the pandemic I started painting again, which led to an art show,” he said.
The show, Russo said, led to more events, eventually leading to the need for storage space.
“I thought, if I’m going to be paying for storage space, why not open a shop,” he said.
The couple opened their doors in Cranston on April 1, 2021, but found he had outgrown the space within a year.
The newish Chepachet business sells more than just the needed supplies for your basic witch, with organic teas, seasonal herbs, sage, incense, and new and estate jewelry filling every surface.
And Russo notes that at Dragonfly, you won’t find imitation stones made of glass or plastic. Among his wares are unique and authentic pieces purchased from various estates, including one necklace with an amulet that’s more than 80 years old.
The Hocus Pocus props, of course, are not for sale, but visitors who stop in to view the items will find a welcoming host and a friendly atmosphere at a business where the motto is, “Come to shop, stay for the vibe.”
“Sometimes, people just need to come in here and have someone to talk to,” said Russo, adding that the store carries, “Everything for the mind, body and soul.”
Starting next week, the business will stay open until 8 p.m. every Friday night for readings, with two guests each week, including mediums, oracles and Tarot cards readers. Russo, who reads Tarot himself, says he screens those who will visit the space in hopes to offer guests an authentic experience.
The store owner would love to tell you where and how to find the recently-displayed props in the movie, but fear not movie fans: you won’t find spoilers here. When NRI NOW visited the shop on Friday, Sept. 30, the film had only just been released and neither Russo – nor this writer – had yet seen it.
What Russo does know is that in the plot of Hocus Pocus 2, a man buys the Sanderson Sister’s house and turns it into a magic store. He speculated this week that the abundance of purple amethyst could mean some of the items are used by Sarah Sanderson – the character played by Sarah Jessica Parker. The wand – or polished fluoride point – could be related to Bette Midler’s character Winifred “Winnie” Sanderson, who always wears green.
Rhode Islanders who watch the film will have more than just nostalgia to enjoy as the familiar actors make their way through equally familiar local landmarks. In addition to Chase Farm in Lincoln, the movie was filmed at Moses Brown School, La Salle Academy, Newman Congregational Church, Benefit Street, Cooke Street, Touro Street and Atwells Avenue in Providence; the Cranston Street Armory in Cranston; Carpenter Cemetery in East Providence; and Washington Square in Newport.
Released Friday, Sept. 30, Hocus Pocus 2 is now available on Disney Plus.
Dragonfly Apothecary will be closed this Saturday while Russo participates in the Bewitched & Bedazzled Festival at Chase Farm, but normal business hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.